Diana Spencer‘s life was linked to that of the Windsors in many ways. Her sister Sarah dated Prince Charles before her (as shown in The Crown season 4). His grandmother was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II. And her eldest sister, Jane, was married to Robert Fellowes, who, from 1990, rose to the selective and very special position of the Queen’s personal secretary, with unrestricted access to the sovereign and her family.
Diana and Jane’s relationship suffered greatly, as her marriage to Charles entered the final stretch and the princess’s relations with the Royal Family became more complicated. The reason was precisely the proximity of Sir Robert Fellowes on the antagonistic side of Diana. If you recognized the last name, YES, it is also related to Downton Abbey showrunner Julian Fellowes. But back to The Crown.
Jane and Robert were married in 1978, when he was already an assistant to the Queen’s secretary, with a teenage Diana as one of the bridesmaids.
Robert was promoted to Elizabeth’s secretary in 1990, holding the position until 1999, when he returned to a career in financial markets. In the series, they kept the version that Diana met Charles through Sarah, but there are versions that it was Jane and Robert Fellowes who invited her to Balmoral in 1980, where Charles and Diana became romantically close.
Lady Jane Fellowes and her husband Sir Robert at the wedding of Charles and Diana
Because of their position at the Palace, Sir Robert and Lady Jane also lived in Kensington Palace, which is to say they were neighbors with Diana and Charles. With the crisis in their marriage, Diana and Jane would also have fought and even stopped talking for more than a year, when the princess considered herself betrayed because her sister would have put her husband’s position ahead of their relationship. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Sir Robert is in The Crown season 5.
For Diana, Sir Robert was one of the main antagonists and men “in gray suits” who wanted her harm and, in fact, leading “The Firm”. She even accused him of monitoring and recording her personal calls. He was one of the most active and harsh critics of Sarah Ferguson, who divorced Prince Andrew around the same time Diana and Charles split. It’s not impossible to credit Diana’s suspicions about her opinion and involvement.
That’s why she would have been disappointed in Jane when her sister didn’t defend her at the height of the fight with Charles. Diana stopped talking to Jane and the two did not get back together before her death. Their children, however, are very close. Laura, Jane’s middle daughter, is one of Princess Charlotte‘s godmothers, for example.
Sir Robert has been called to testify about a possible conspiracy in the death of Princess Diana.
On the set of season 5 of The Crown, one of the actors identified alongside Imelda Stauton was Andrew Havill, in a role that has now been officially confirmed as that of Robert Fellowes.
One more curiosity, Andrew was in the cast of Downton Abbey and The King’s Speech, therefore a double bond with the Windsors. Confirmation of their participation demonstrates that they must address the delicate personal connection of the family, which always mixes work with personal relationships.
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